Living Wages in Santa Fe

Ed Tinsley says that Santa Fe's living wage law was one reason he didn't open a business there.

Earlier this year, Santa Fe passed a law imposing an $8.50 minimum wage on all businesses in the city with 25 or more workers. The hike takes effect in 2004, with the wage rising to $10.50—more than double the national minimum—by 2008. Not only is this the highest living wage in the U.S.; it is also unrivaled in its impact on private industry, since most of the 90 or so living-wage laws nationwide apply only to firms that do business with local government.

State and local lawmakers are working to help firms stay afloat during the current economic slump, but Santa Fe's bill will drive businesses to friendlier climes. While I truly wanted to open a K-Bob's in Santa Fe, the huge labor-cost hikes would force me to jack up prices to such unreasonable levels that I decided to stay out of town.